S.A.I.L Away With Me

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

SAIL Pic 2

My personal mission statement is to inspire and equip others to thrive. I have a great passion for doing so with women, especially young professional women. For a long time, I’ve had a dream of creating a women’s leadership development program and was able to be the driving force in creating and implementing PREVAIL Women’s Leadership Conference at Vanderbilt University for undergraduate and graduate students who identify as women. After the success of PREVAIL, my heart was even more motivated to create something special for women in Nashville. A place where women can connect, learn, be vulnerable, dream, create, love, and communicate what they hope for, need, pray for, and just want in this world for their personal and professional lives.

One of my Strengths is Input which means that I collect lots of resources and love sharing them with other people. I cringe when people haven’t been exposed to tools that could help lead them in a different and/or better direction. Besides just posting these items on social media, I want to be able to actually engage women as they dive into various frameworks, theories, and schools of thought. I’m a connector of people and a connector of people to resources.

This is  the origin story  of S.A.I.L:

Success

Authenticity

Innovation

Love

“All of us are learning how to SAIL our ship. We often don’t think about learning how to SAIL until we’re in a storm. Think about how much better we’d be at thriving during the storm if we spent more time learning how to SAIL before the storm. “

Deciding a name for this program took me a little time as I wanted something meaningful and different. A scroll through Pinterest produced the famous quote from Little Women and I scribbled  SAIL in my notebook. I then decided that SAIL needed to mean something and used it to plot out the curriculum course. S.A.I.L is a vessel to get to your desired destination and people go sailing to do the same. I took a break from the idea and visited The Beveled Edge for a shopping break. The first greeting card I saw in the pile was the one below:

Sail card

This is when I knew I’d found just what I was looking for in the name S.A.I.L. God is something else, ain’t he?

S.A.I.L includes:

  • 4 1.5/2 hour workshops
  • Opportunity to take StrengthsQuest
  • List of Relevant Resources
  • Relationship Building
  • Action Planning
  • Snacks/Wine/Champagne
  • Real Talk  about four key topics that continuously rear their head in the lives of women.
  • Oh, and it’s FREE!

Our first session is on Wednesday, February 3rd at Atmalogy in Nashville, TN.

19 women have already said YES! My goal was 15.

Can’t wait to keep you updated on this dream. This is just Leg 1 of the voyage. My hope is that S.A.I.L is able to leave its mark on the hearts, minds, and souls of the women in Nashville, TN and then one day, a city near you :).

If you’re in Nashville and interested in being a part of any or all S.A.I.L sessions, please send me an email at krystalnclark@gmail.com.

Invite Pic

 

 

 

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Full.

Watch this video.

I live with the same gremlin as Oprah, “Who do you think you are?”

FULL is my 2016 Word. Read this Yellow + Co. post for more info. Resolutions are not my thing. Well composed goals that include a plan of action and accountability systems are a whole lot better. One word that keeps me pointed in the right direction creates a simple guidepost for my life. I don’t have to check a list to make sure I’m getting it all “right”. I just have to check the gauge on my heart and mind to see if I’m heading towards full.

“Now, I work at being full. I want to be so full that I’m overflowing. Overflowing with enough to share with everybody else…I’m going to own the fullness without ego and without arrogance, but an amazing sense of gratitude that I live at a time where I have the great pleasure and freedom to fill myself up.” –Oprah

FULL

Happy 2016, y’all. Here’s to a life of being full. Full of becoming more of who I already am, full of saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ intentionally, full of belly laughing, full of love for myself and others, full of God and reminders of His grace, full of music, full of delicious food, full of movement, full of creativity, full of knowing that being single does not determine my worth, full of living my life in my lane, full of magic, full of friends, full of reflection, full of choosing joy, full of family, full of events, full of seeing failure as information, full of enjoying the small moments, full of fighting the good fight, full of getting stronger, full of less stuff and more experiences, full of honoring my needs, full of hope, full of savoring the season of my life, full of being a little bit better today than I was yesterday, and full of doing the best I can with what I have. This little tea cup is just waiting to overflow.

I think we have enough people who are living their lives empty of their truth. They are curating themselves into someone they aren’t. Being full of oneself isn’t a negative thing and I’d choose it any day over being empty of the me God made me to be.

Now, when I hear that little gremlin say, “Who do you think you are?” I will simply say, “I’m me.”

What’s your word of 2016? What’s that one focus that you’ll keep in mind as you move throughout the year. That internal check-in that will let you know if you’re experiencing your personally defined vision of success.

Krystal “Someone Get That Woman an Extra Cup” Clark

#FULL

Happenings & Hopes: January Edition

Happy New Year!

I spent NYE with new friends eating a delicious dinner at MOTO in The Gulch and drinking a great deal of Champs while having belly laugh inducing conversations and watching Nashville’s award winning fireworks from a supposedly ‘closed’ rooftop lounge. I’ll call it a win.

NYE

The next night I spent jotting in my ban.do Hopes + Dreams notebook about all that I want to happen in 2016. The list is long as I’m not known for brevity or lack of ambition.

Hopes and Dreams

The second item I wrote is that I will commit to writing at least 1 blog post per week. A daily blog is NOT my jam. Batch writing and scheduling posts is not my desired creation process. However, I can prioritize time during each week to crank out 1 meaningful post. I’ve drafted a list of topics for this month and the first week of February. I’ve chosen Thursday as my post day of the week. My hope is that this will lift the rock up off my shoulders that comes with people knowing I have a blog and then realizing that my posts have become few and far between. So, I’ll see you here on Thursday every week.  A new monthly series is Happenings & Hopes where I will detail what’s actually on my plate during the month and what I hope will happen during the month. Those are often two VERY different things.

So, welcome to January:

Happenings –Stuff that’s on the calendar– IT ALL HAPPENENED!!!

  • Junior League of Nashville ’16-’17 Board Retreat! 150 till I’m President Elect which means I’m a year closer to taking on the President role in 2017. Yikes!
  • Barre3 Challenge begins on January 4th! 4 studio classes, 1 online workout, and one yummy recipe-27 days of Barre3 immersion– completed 1 week…:(
  • Co-Facilitation of JLN Goal Setting Training Session
  • University of West Georgia Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Retreat- My first time being hired to create original curriculum and serve as Co-Lead Facilitator!
  • Beginning a Bible Study with lovely friends! We’re using Kelly Minter’s “What is Love?” I’m looking forward to this dive into the Word.
  • AJLI Winter Leadership Retreat in Austin, TX! Can’t wait to meet my President Elect-Elect Sisters!
  • My brothers’ birthday and he’s starting the MBA program at my alma mater, William & Mary!
  • Nashville Emerging Leaders Breakfast
  • College Panhellenic/Interfraternity Council Academy where I’ve been invited to facilitate an original session on Motivation and give an IFC Academy Talk!
  • I’m incredibly excited to begin my involvement with another fantastic training organization in Nashville that will allow me to further explore my budding interest in local politics. More details to come!
  • Oh, and I have a full-time job! We’re launching an new spring program and have some moves to make with campus partners. We’re also reapplying for our TEDxVanderbiltUniversity license and reimagining some of our existing programs.

I have NOTHING to do this month.

Hopes — Stuff that’s in my head and heart but if I’m not careful won’t make it’s way onto the Priority List

  • Purchase new personal business cards
  • Published blog post on a site I love dearly–Checking in on this piece
  • Holiday Thank You Cards
  • Eat out once per day and not three –> grocery shop–I lost count of the days and by the amount of receipts in my wallet from Panera, I’m not sure this worked out perfectly. I will say that I cooked more than usual this month which is a bit nuts considering that I was out of town 12 days.
  • Plan 2 friend moments
  • Engage in Sunday outfit planning for the week–whatever was hanging around once I finished packing was up for grabs
  • Finish at least 1 incomplete or untouched book already on my bookshelf–Nope!
  • Write a plan to tackle a piece of debt
  • Finish Season 1 and start Season 2 of Homeland
  • Begin planning 33rd Birthday trip for April
  • Finish developing the first and second session of S.A.I.L
  • Leave at least 1 blank night a week
  • Be in bed by midnight
  • Buy less stuff (Kate Spade bag w/gift card, mani/pedi/wax, Tom Ford Lipstick, Le Pens, Champagne, Hat, Wallet, Planner)
  • Marie Kondo my closet –Purses=Check!, Shoes= Check! Hats=Check!
  • To reach out to people when I think about them and not just shrug off the urge.-Ick! Yes, there were times when I did so and other times during which I put it on the backburner and never moved it back to the front of my mind.
  • To really use all that I learned during our mid-year reviews to be a better Director of my office and supervisor of my team.–uh, sure. Gosh, I have a staff member that’s decided to take advantage of another great opportunity and I think we had a great conversation about this change.
  • Pray for an open heart and mind when it comes to this season of my life. Pray that the Lord will give me the strength to embrace it and not let it lead me to lose my faith or hope in His promises. To constantly seek to be intentionally full of light, love, and laughter.– I really did the best I could with what I have. I didn’t dwell too much on my singleness this month, probably because I was running like a madwoman on the hamster wheel of life, and this also why I continue to run. I did have someone tell me that they just can’t ever see me being angry –gosh, I’ve got them fooled!
Some additional January Wins:
  • Announced as a Fellow for New Leaders’ Council
  • Solidified an opportunity to contribute a piece to an upcoming book for college students
  • Successfully designed and co-facilitated my first for hire retreat curriculum for the University of West Georgia
  • Met an incredible group of PE and PEE at AJLI Winter Leadership Conference in Austin, TX
  • Nominated for a Nashville Emerging Leader Award
  • A beautiful surprise shoutout for being a Panhellenic woman and  the first African American President of the Junior League of Nashville at CPC Academy
  • Nailed down 2 additional speaking/facilitation gigs for 2016

Can’t wait to let y’all know how all this went down or didn’t go down in February.

This may seem like A  LOT to some folks, but y’all, I am so thankful for all of the opportunities that He puts on my plate. Everything that I’m doing means something to me and is helping me be more of who I already am in this world–because that’s all I want–to be as ME as I can possibly be in this world without any apprehension.

These posts also serve as an accountability tool. You’ve unknowingly signed up to be my accountability partners. Thanks y’all, you’re so good to me. Breaking things up into monthly patterns will help me work towards the bigger picture without being too overwhelmed.

Now, I’m going to carve out time to put my Hopes on my calendar along with my Happenings.

What about you? What are your Happenings & Hopes for this month?

Can’t wait to see y’all each Thursday!

Krystal “Fighters Gotta Fight” Clark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RSVP is a Verb.

 

RSVP

 

Répondez s’il vous plaît

In the context of social invitations, RSVP is a request for a response from the invited person or people. It is an initialism derived from the French phrase Répondez s’il vous plaît, literally “Reply if you please” or “Please reply”.

This is what you learn when you type into Google, “What does RSVP mean?” Ahem, I know what it means but I wanted to get it from a trusted source and I tend to trust Google more than I’ve ever trusted a human being in my life (j/k) but really…hmm, that’s probably a topic for another post.

Anywho, let’s talk about something that’s been grinding my gears lately, and yes, that is a Family Guy reference. I enjoy big belly laughs while watching that show and I could care less if that changes your opinion of me.

To remind you, I work at a Top 15 university and part of my job includes developing educational programs for undergraduate students. 95% of my time, I really love my job and the students are the best part of it all. However, what I began to notice within the 18-22 set and have continued to observe in the beyond 22 crowd (I’m 32 and doing it well.) is that people no longer show any respect for the RSVP. It has fallen into the pile of things that are heavily underutilized. That pile also includes signal lights in Tennessee, the phone to actually make calls, the ability to ask people out on dates, and razors during No Shave November.

What I have found is that people respond to an invite with an enthusiastic, “YES!” or not at all. Now, I haven’t really tested this in the paper realm of things but when it comes to electronic invites, we are really slippin’ on our RSVP game. I blame all of this on Facebook. Thanks Mark Zuckerberg! I’m an OG on Facebook joining in 2005 and back then the event feature didn’t exist. Now, we all have the power to create events and invite selectively or just your entire “friends” list to your birthday party, opening, fundraiser, watch party, baby shower, donor drive, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, happy hour, gender reveal party, the day you woke up on time, that one time you escaped work without banging your head against the wall, your prison release celebration and so on and so forth. So what happens? People get an invite and feel special and while still on that dopamine high that one experiences upon receiving social media notifications, they eagerly hit “Going”. Congratulations, you’ve just RSVPd “Yes”. The person on the other side of this event, the person who is expending psychological and financial resources on this event just became really excited because you, their “friend”, just agreed to support them at this event. Hell yeah! This person, is coming and I won’t be there all by myself. Praise Him or Her or whatever you praise when you get excited.

Let’s fast forward to the actual event. Person B, event creator, is expecting you to be there along with the other 50 folks who hit “Going” with more enthusiasm than people ever show in voting booths. “This is going to be rad”, thinks Person B, “50 of my woes are coming to this event.” And guess what, at the end of the event perhaps 15 of your woes have rolled into the scene. You planned for 50, you paid for 50, you’d gotten your heart set on 50, you’d promised the club owner 50, and you got 15. WHERE IN THE HELL WERE ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE? Oh, wait, there they are over on Instagram at other events having the time of their lives. Dagger! Dems fighting words or rather pictures.

The other response is “silence” which signals, “I’m ignoring your invitation and don’t even care enough to reject this opportunity.” —Avoidance is always the right answer, amirite?! Oh, and I’m lazy. Ick.

Have we all simply become commitmentphobes?

Obviously, I took this question to the precious pumpkins that I get to have in my life aka college students who simultaneously make me feel 19 and 89.

“What’s up with that?”

A few responses—

“I mean, I say that I’m going on Facebook because it shows that I support my friend and the event. However, it doesn’t mean that I’m actually going to go.” –This is when I begin to feel 89. The ultimate form of support would be to, oh I don’t know, ACTUALLY ATTEND THE EVENT! The other, way more mature thing to do would be to honestly RSVP and then send your friend a note (text, email, stationery for all my adorable ones who leave me cards on my desk and under my door –love!) explaining that you can’t attend because other parts of your life are occurring at the same time along with statements, like and such as, you’re awesome and I’m so happy you’re having this event. Let’s get together soon and celebrate (whatever was happening at the event) OR let me know how I can be a part of the cause in another way.

Just my two cents. I’ve only been in the game for 32 years.

Other responses—

“I would have gone but I didn’t know anyone else who was going.” –Okay, I get it. Everyone isn’t an extroverted loner like myself who will literally do anything she wants all.by.myself with the same chest beating zeal of Celine Dion singing the same words. BUT at some point in your existence, I’m going to just need you to get gussied up and put your friend making pants on! I know this sounds nuts, but try meeting a new person. I know, I know I feel a little naughty even suggesting it to you. What I’ve found is that people don’t actually mind meeting other people. You were invited to the same event so there’s got to be some commonality that you’ll find within your network even if it’s just that you go to the same school or both know the host. Smile, say hello, ask a good leading question, and watch how it all unfolds. I have met a crapload of people in Nashville by just showing up and being my sweet southern sarcastic smart successful self. I thought of some other words that begin with ‘s’, but this is LinkedIn.

The last most common response grouping—

“Krystal, I fully intended to go but…

–another event was happening at the same time and I thought I could do both but it just didn’t happen.

— I was too busy with something else.

— I mean, I just didn’t feel like going.

For #1 and #2 –You’re doing too much. Just like Drake in “Hotline Bling”, I’m not mad at you for doing too much because you could be doing too much awesomeness, but I need you to become aware of it and act accordingly. Don’t let it have a negative impact on your ability to commit and in the process frustrate others. Essentialism by Greg Mckeown has changed my life. He talks about the power of the graceful “no”. “Remember that a clear ‘no’ can be more graceful than a vague or noncommittal ‘yes’. I’d much rather you say no instead of committing dishonestly and halfheartedly by saying yes? <–The question mark is supposed to be there. Read it again with emphasis on the question mark. McKeown reminds us that we live by the inherent assumption “I can do both” and this lead us to a lack of understanding or embracing that in life, there are tradeoffs. By saying yes to something, we are saying no to something else. If you click yes on a gender reveal party, you’re signaling that you’re saying no to the happy hour. You’re also being a damn good friend because I’m not sure I would make the same decision. Doing both is not going to lead to full commitment of you physically or psychologically. That doesn’t seem fair to you or to the hosts. By figuring out what’s essential to your life, focusing not on how to do “more things but more of the right things” you’re going to live a more fulfilling, clear, and purposeful life. You’ll also retain the respect of your peers and not burn bridges that could lead you somewhere essential later in life.

Seriously, read Essentialism. I’d be totally cool if you stopped reading this and read that instead. I believe in it just that much. I’m also pretty confident that you’re not going to do that.

#3 –Don’t should yourself to death. Check out this Buzzfeed video. If you don’t want to go, just say “no” and let that be okay. You ain’t got to lie, Craig. That was a Friday reference  (excuse the language in the clip). Everything isn’t going to appeal to everyone. You can gracefully decline. Just please, don’t say “YES” and give people the wrong idea. No one actually deserves that in the same way that you don’t deserve having to endure an event that you find to be just awful. Rid your life of FOMO and just enjoy the limited amount of time that you have on this planet. If you want to smooth this over with the host then see that thing about a note that I wrote earlier or when you see them again in the flesh just push that awkward elephant out of the room and apologize for your absence. Unless, there’s actually an elephant in the room and then by god you just enjoy being in the presence of that beautiful creature. Also, probably ask why there’s an elephant in the room and how he/she got there in the first place?

What I know for sure is that life happens and when it does, it can get in the way of your plans. What I don’t get is how we’ve become so immune to the feelings of other humans that when we acknowledge that my life happening impacted their life happening that I can’t even take the time to send a 1 line text, “My apologies. I fully well meant to attend but [insert life happening here]. Then scratch that one off your “Things I feel guilty or awkward about list” or the “Things I was a total jerk about list” and move on with all of the other things occurring in the world.

My office and students plan programs all the time and it can take a great deal of courage and energy to plan an event and invite the world to attend. Your name is on something and the most superficial level of success can only be achieved if there are butts in seats. When folks don’t honor their commitment, it can simply be hurtful. Why would you want to do that to someone?

Advice for the Hosts: The philosophy that was taught to me a long time ago by TJ Sullivan was to “celebrate those who come”. No matter if 2 or 200 people are in the space, show those folks the best time possible. Achieve your event outcomes with those two people and know that you’ve had an impact. Those 2 who had a jolly time will tell 2 more people and when you talk about that event, you let people know that we did it real BIG and you missed it. You always play to a crowd of 1000 even if there’s 1 person in the stands.

All of these words to say that we’ve got to get our RSVP Game back in order. It’s just a basic sign of respect for people in the world who are working hard to make great things happen and plan your social calendar. People want you to be at places—that’s really cool. However, don’t be so overtaken by that rush of happiness that you screw them over in the process. It’s pretty simple, YES or NO. If things change, you often have the opportunity to commit at a later time or uncommit.

Take a moment out of your day to go back through all of those Facebook Invites and update your attendance status. Send notes of regret to those people sweating behind the scenes. Mark some things off your calendar or to-do list and engage in a sigh of relief. Release yourself and others from expectations. I’m not perfect at this but I’m getting better everyday because I know that these events matter. If not to you, then someone else and that’s enough for me to start caring and acting like I care.

The RSVP is a powerful tool. It represents not only something that you have in the form of an opportunity and a choice but also something that you do. It calls you to respond. JUST SAY YES or JUST SAY NO (that one’s for you, Nancy Reagan).

Thanks for reading.

 

Ta Ta For Now

visit yourself

It’s been quite a lengthy break in posts. I got too busy living life and didn’t take much time to write about it. I’ve done some guest blogs but haven’t devoted any time to the upkeep of PeculiarPearl. It continues to be on my to-do list and I carry a nagging guilt that I haven’t posted in months. However, I’m letting go of that dark cloud and just admitting that there isn’t a percentage of Krystal available to write at this time.

Follow me over on Instagram @krystalnclark . I still post over there on a daily basis and often contribute what Hilary Rushford calls Instablogs.

I have promised myself that I will begin stepping back from a few things in November to make more room for larger priorities. Certainly, I will blog again but for now, PeculiarPearl needs to focus elsewhere. Visiting myself sounds like a great idea.

See you over on Instagram!

Krystal

The Best and Hardest Gift from God

This picture is the aftermath of 1.5 hours on stage at Delta Zeta’s Norma Minch Andrisek Leadership Conference. I spoke on “Building Resilience” with over 400 sorority women who served as onlookers, learners, participants, and co-educators as we talked about the hard process of “bouncing back” and what it means to “stretch” and not “break”. As Brene Brown and Oprah spewed their wisdom on vulnerability being the cornerstone of confidence the necessity of “daring greatly” and the freedom that comes with brushing your critics off your shoulder. Whew!

aftermath

I literally float on a cloud when I’m giving a talk and then I have to work my way back to earth. Eventually I crash which is the view you see above and YES, I’m watching a 30 For 30 because these documentaries are my “Lifetime Movie”. The U: Part 1 & 2 give me life. As someone who is intrigued by topics like vulnerability, resiliency, and self-authorship–I find the tales of athletes to be riveting. Our athletes are our superheroes and to see all that they go through whether inflicted by self or others is always inspiring.

As I was deflating in this lovely hotel room while wrapped up in comfy hotel bedding thinking about this opportunity that God has given me to do what I feel I’ve been called to do, I got one of those pangs–you know, one of those single woman pangs. That feeling that’s been happening more and more lately that yes, I have a charmed life BUT I’m still missing elements that I thought by 32 would be present. At least, I thought I’d have a partner –perhaps not children, but a partner for certain, someone to share what’s happening in my life. Someone who would be excited for me, proud of me, and would be waiting for me when I got off the plane or would be there with me, in the moment, smiling at me from the audience.

Those pangs HURT. My appendix swelling was pretty painful and single woman pangs are a close second. Both are debilitating.

Wholeheartedly

Luckily, I stashed my Wholeheartedly Devotional in my travel bag before I departed for O-H-I-O. Because God is who He is the next devotional in the serious is called “receive”.

“Only those people who have been given the gift of staying single can accept this teaching. Some people are unable to marry because of birth defects or because of what someone has done to their bodies. Others stay single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who can accept this teaching should do so.” Matthew 19:11-12

The words jumped off the page and into my heart and soul. Natalie Matrejean, the author of Wholeheartedly expressed what she learned about being single from this scripture and I desperately needed to hear and understand this Word.

1. Singleness is a gift (let’s hope there’s a gift receipt). Some people are gifted with singleness. If you are one of those people He will help you.

2. Singleness is hard (YEP!). Even some who are called will not be able to accept it.

3. Singleness is better for the kingdom. Jesus is saying to receive and accept singleness  for His Kingdom’s sake if you have been called to it.

In that moment, in the hotel room and in many other moments throughout my life, I have to remember and accept these three things.

My singleness is a GIFT. For some reason He is calling me to it for a season or perhaps for the rest of my life. I often realize that the freedom that comes with being single is a huge gift from God. I have loads of FREEDOM to live and serve. I am blessed to know and understand that I have a God who helps me navigate my solo mission.

It is HARD. A lot of the time it’s hard because of what’s going on around me. It seems that everyone is married and having tons of babies. The world has found its other half and I’m that sock that lost its match in the dryer. It’s also hard because there are times when I just want someone to hug me. I want a partner in life because most things are better when you have a buddy. You know, a built in human support system. I’ve been in love and it feels great. I need some serotonin and oxytocin, you know? It’s hard to play against a team when you’re all alone.

It is BETTER? I don’t know. On a daily basis, my answer is a big resounding, NO!  Sometimes I feel it is  when I see people I love going through incredibly dramatic relationship matters. Divorce, infidelity, unhappy marriages, and difficult conversations. I don’t want those headaches. However, if its BETTER for God then I guess it is BETTER. If he sees fit to use me in a special way to serve Him then perhaps for me, at this time, or until I leave this earth, it is BETTER for me to be single.

In order to gain some peace during this current season of my life, I have to “receive” this message. I have to believe that it is a Gift, it is Hard, and it is Better. If this is my calling, and I receive it, then I shall be blessed by it.

It was also a wake up call to me that because I am ABLE to do more for His kingdom because I’m not occupied by a spouse or any dependents, that I need to do so and if I’m honest with you, I’m not doing enough for God at this moment in my life.

In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. 1 Cor. 7:34-35

Delving into this teacher helped the pangs subside and I was able to open myself back up to the happiness that was happening all around me. As I know but as I have to keep reminding myself at every turn, that God is in control. His plan, His timing, my obedience.

My life is too blessed and I’m doing what I said I wanted to do in life. I’m human and I have those valley moments and like I told the sorority women in the audience, we’ve all got to work our way back up from those black holes in our life. My resiliency is a factor of my faith and when I’m feeling those single woman pangs, God is the best at giving me the Word I need to get back to good. My joy comes from the Lord and if this is what He sees fit for me at this point in my life then I can’t let my singleness ruin all of the blessings he’s bestowed upon me. Because what I now understand is that it is too a blessing. Exhale.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

#Goals

So, I did pretty decent with my May-June goals. I didn’t make it to the zoo or make my recipes. My Peculiar Pearl goals struggled but I did meet with a designer who’s going to do some branding work for me and I secured a blogging spot with mavenly.co for a 3-blog stint. I wasn’t a total slacker.

However, God’s got a fantastic sense of humor and his Day Designer doesn’t sync up with mine. Little did I know that on his goals list for me this month would be an appendectomy. Had some pains on Saturday and was down one organ on the same day.CRAZY!

Ahem! Here’s my new goals list:

#1 REST!

rest

I can’t lift anything over 10lbs and there will be no working out in the next couple of weeks. Now, there will be some reading of the written word,watching of The Netflix, and some writing here and there because that’s what rest looks like for me. I’ll be sitting/laying the whole time–promise!

I guess it was time for some serious forced rest. I thought I’d been doing better in this area of life but joke’s on me friends.

All of this is for a reason and this time of rest if preparing for something else. As per usual, I’m sure I’ll learn a great deal of lessons from God’s detours.

Krystal

May 21-June 21 Goals

Perhaps I should have posted these at the beginning of May but as I think Lara Casey would attest to there is really nothing special about the first of the month. It’s a day that we’ve socially constructed to mean the beginning or starting point but who says you can’t start on the 21st? Throw away nonessential rules!

Nashville Bucket List –My list of things to do in my favorite city this summer. I envy those people who say things like, ” I summer in The Hamptons.” You know folks got bank when seasons become verbs. I haven’t reached baller status so for now #isummerinNashville.

Fruit Name

Update my Retirement Plan–I’m 32 and it’s never too early to get this party started. I have great employer matching benefits and I want to make sure that I’m taking full advantage of every opportunity to save for retirement.

Restaurant Crawl– Dinner at Lockeland Table and I still have 2 reservations to secure for a dinner date and a group brunch. I’m also working on a visit to Biscuit Love.

Sunday Gratitude Time– I have a ton of Thank You Notes and Love Letters to write to special folks in my life. Time to get it started! –Fruitful Summer!

Mail God

Summer Reading List– Diving into Spinster by Kate Bolick and Do Over by Jon Acuff

The Nashville Zoo

The Peach Truck

Fitness Goals

Use my Fit Factory Nashville Groupon. I purchased a months worth of classes. Can’t let that $39.00 go down the drain. IP

Yoga on the Field!

Begin the Barre3 Anywhere Challenge on June 1. The first challenge was the best fitness experience ever for me and I’m looking forward to getting it done again.

– Pick 3 new recipes from Soul Food Love and Oh Gussie! to prepare.

Professional Goals

Present at the National Conference for College Women Student Leadership at my alma mater, University of Maryland, College Park.

Participate in Mid-Level Managers’ Institute taking place right here in Nashville. So thankful to have been selected for this PD experience.

-Hold action oriented meetings for PREVAIL and TEDxVanderbiltUniversity

– Transfer Student Recruitment for EVOLVE

Summer Leadership Challenge! First 3 challenges.

Peculiar Pearl Goals

3 Posts per week

Build instagram following over @peculiar_pearl

Get new business cards

Develop a Business Plan

Email Rachel about training with Liz

– Craft Key messages/services

Orientation at Nashville Entrepreneur Center

Faith Goals

Continue working through the Wholeheartedly Devotional

Attend the Belonging Co.

– Continue seeking and praying about a Bible Study/Small Group

I think that might be enough. I’m excited and tired –is there a word for that?

Krystal

Quiet As It’s Kept…

Mandy Hale

Mandy Hale

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my perpetual state of being single. I’ve been in wondrous love once and crippling lust once and out of the two I’m praying for the former this next time around.

However, I just don’t do well with this whole thing. People always ask me, “Why are you still single?” That’s like asking saying to someone who’s lost, “Tell me exactly where you are.” If I knew the answer to this question, maybe I wouldn’t be single.

Here’s a few reasons I’ve conjured up or have been told to me by the gaggle of sages that inhabit my life (note the sarcasm):

  1. You’re surrounded by too many women. . You need to hang out in mixed groups.
  2. You should try online dating.
  3. You don’t leave any space in your life for another person. Start making room for that person to be in your life and he shall appear.
  4. You just seem really happy being single. It’s not easy to see that you want another person in your life.
  5. You’re too picky!
  6. Oh, and my favorite–You’re just really intimidating and have it all together. Men don’t really know how to handle that in a woman.

My single status only bothers me every now and then. There are days when I’m beyond the moon grateful that I don’t have a partner and children because of the freedom I have in my life, but then there are those days when I’m not sure that I can wake up AGAIN alone in my bed or go to one more event by myself. At 32, when I see all of these beautiful babies tottering around in the world, I feel like my uterus and heart are going to burst. Living in the South doesn’t help with these feelings.

I constantly ask myself, Why me? Why am I the single educated black woman stereotype? What did I do wrong? Hell, I worked really hard to do as much as I could in the manner I thought was “right”. Why can’t a male see that and want me to be a part of his life? Am I really that awful?

Over the past 32 years, I’ve dealt with confidence issues and  there was certainly a period of my life that rears its ugly head on my worst days, in which I thought that if I just lost weight, had longer hair, made myself less ugly, and dumbed myself down that I would be able to find him. Those days when I thought that if I just relaxed and let him control everything that I would be deemed less intimidating and more attractive. I’m not proud of those days and what I allowed to happen because of those poisonous thoughts. It’s still really difficult when I go out and don’t get any attention from men. It takes me a minute to not let myself fall back into that pit of worthlessness. Luckily, it takes me a shorter amount of time to bounce back then it did when I was 16.

I think this is one the reasons I enjoy social media because I certainly get positive affirmation from others in those areas in which I need it the most. On those days when I feel less than about who I am, a ‘Like’ can make a difference in my day. I know this isn’t healthy, but I think it’s a sickness many of us are dealing with in this world. The source of our approval should never be man and I’m working on that slowly but surely. The Krystal you see on Facebook is a real woman and in those moments, I am happy, but there are other layers to me –layers of sadness and imperfection—layers of wanting more and feeling like less more days than I’d like to admit. Those quotes I post are as much for me as they are for you. If I layer my day with hope, faith, and Beyonce-like motivation, I can get through just about anything.

What I know for sure is that I live a blessed life. The people, the places, my profession, my ability to wear bright colors, my intelligence, my large smile, and fun hair, the ways that I’m able to give back to others, etc. are all gifts. I mean, there are so many blessings on my doorstep that I’m constantly overwhelmed by God’s goodness. I’ve got it so good…I just wonder more and more what it would be like to do my life in partnership with another person.

For the longest time I screamed at the top of my lungs, “I NEVER want to get married and I NEVER want to have kids.” I now know that a lot of that was fear. Fear that my marriage would turn out like my mother’s and fear that this was never in the cards for me. Sandbagging became my chosen defense mechanism. Maybe if I said it long enough, I’d come to believe it.

My conservative side is winning this battle and I want to be married and then have children. I want that good ‘ol nuclear family. I didn’t have this growing up and I’m not going to make the decision to be a single mother. My mother did a kickass job raising two unicorn children BUT that wasn’t her choice and a father is important in a child’s life. No one needs daddy issues. Believe me.

Say it and it shall be so. Well, I’m saying it out loud. I want at least to have the opportunity to have a family of my own. I don’t want this desire to completely consume me but I don’t want it to allude me either.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to hit the discotheques or start hiding out in Whole Foods playing ‘Spot the Wedding Ring’. It also doesn’t mean that I’m going to spend an inordinate amount of time winking, flirting, poking, and swiping folks on a screen. I’m also not going to become Eeyore. I shall be glad. It just means that I’m opening my mind and my heart. I’m going to stop denying what I want out of fear.

“You’re single not because you’re not good enough for one, it’s that you’re too good for the wrong one.”- Chris Burkmenn

God has given me this ever present season for a reason. He’s preparing me for greater. My first love and my crippling lust weren’t the end goal for me. While I’m waiting for His choice, I want to fully embrace this time in my life even more than I already do. I have great things to offer this world. I don’t want to have any regrets and I certainly don’t want to press PAUSE on all the bright sides of life while I twiddle my thumbs hesitating to move forward until my Prince Charming appears. As I’m living and waiting with my heart, I want to cocoon myself in His word. My moments of loneliness and emptiness as I trick myself into believing that I’m not loved need to be filled with Him and His promises.

Wholeheartedly

Luckily, I found Natalie Metrejean and we’re sharing the same struggle. Wholeheartedly: A Devotional For Singles will be my new companion as I work through devotions focused on being a single woman and what God wants for us and from us during this season. Already, I have spent time thinking through lies that need to be confronted, so that I can move forward living based on God’s truth. Clearing out the junk including the negative self-talk that hurts me even more than others do on a daily basis. Follow Natalie Instagram @NATALIEMETREJEAN.

While I’m waiting, hoping, wishing, dreaming, and certainly praying I think the Word is the best player to have on my team.

Pray with me and for me. Whatever God has for me I know is for my good. He hasn’t let me down yet and I know that He won’t start today.

Also, if you know of any bachelors, I’m more than willing to be set up. A girl’s got to eat and I might as well do it with another person ;).

Be Glad

 Thanks for reading.

Krystal

Oh, hey 32.

It’s time for another fantastic voyage around the sun! 32 happened today.

It was grand. It’s Good Friday so there’s way more to be thankful for than my birthday BUT…I certainly celebrated my origin and am thankful others took the time to do so as well.

So, what happens now? Hmm…let’s see…my apartment and car are messy (as per usual), there was a tornado warning, dinner plans were cancelled (totally fine as my spa appointment was running long and I was quite unaware of the mess my hair would be after all of that TLC). I slept in, took a great Barre3 class, and spent from 12:45-almost 6:00 at ESCAPE Day Spa. Now, that was heavenly. Sigh! I also received a litany of the sweetest and most thoughtful messages from family and friends. All in all, it was a perfect day of rest, relaxation, and an increased awareness of all the love I have in my life.

In between spa services, I read Hannah Brencher’s “If You Find This Letter”. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon her but her writing is pure poetry. The depth of feeling is unfathomable which is probably why I began to cry as I read it during my pedicure. My emotions have been pouring out of me like crazy lately…I’m not sure how I feel about that but when you gotta cry, you gotta cry. I’m not sure if the woman working on my feet noticed my tears. If she did, she politely did not mention it and instead made my toes pretty with a polish called “Can’t Be Beet” and brought me a cup of delicious green tea. I think the tears came from a variety of things. Would you like to join me as I psychoanalyze myself?

1. I’m 32 and that’s awesome and scary. On my best day,  I feel 21. I don’t think I’m unique in thinking that I should be further ahead in life than I actually am. Whatever “further ahead” means.

2. It’s a total privilege and I’m overwhelmed by the blessings I have to be able to afford to spend an obnoxious amount of time at a day spa. It wasn’t cheap but was totally worth it. Treat yo’ self 2015!

3. I don’t think that I’ve rested like that in a really long time. I carry a lot around in my head and in my shoulders.  I tucked my phone into my locker and I just relaxed. No work, no family, no Nashville stuff, nothing. Just me, myself, all of these great smells, the sound of water, twinkling stars on the ceiling, fresh cucumber water, and these amazing cookies that look like tree bark but tasted like perfection. No to-do list or goals. Just Krystal and peace.  No striving to get to the next step, no feeling like I’m behind–just sitting, laying, breathing, napping, and praying (all while in a robe). I needed this respite real bad. I needed to not know there was a tornado outside.

cucumber water

4. Hannah’s book is a lot about LOVE. L-O-V-E. Romantic love is illusive in my life. I think I had it once but not since. Having a birthday reminds you of the many types of love that exist in this world and though I don’t have “the one”, I do have many. Many amazing human beings who have love for me in their heart. People who love me for who I am and love me unconditionally. I’m surrounded by love all the time. I can’t discount that love because I don’t have a boyfriend or husband. The love I get from the many is the love that’s kept me going strong for the past 32 years. It’s the love of many that gets me out of bed and is the love that pushes me to be a little bit better today than I was yesterday. It’s the love that makes my smile big and my laughter loud. It’s LOVE and it’s so good. My tears were a mixture of heartache and me simply recognizing again that my time hasn’t come yet for someone to love me in a romantic way and that doesn’t make me less of a person. I’m a whole person. There’s all this magic love around me on a regular basis that makes and keeps my heart full. As my birthday is on Good Friday, I must never forget the ultimate love of Jesus dying on the cross for little ‘ol me. Me not having a boo to take me to the Masquerade Ball can never cause me heartache without my permission because of His  love in my life. It’s hard to understand why I haven’t found the love of my life BUT I can’t let it break me and I can’t let it scar my entry into 32. God’s got a plan. I have a purpose. It’s going to work itself out someday. All of that is worth some tears, right?

So, all in all, it was a strong, beautiful, and cleansing day. My pedi, facial, eye refresher, and massage made it a solid first day of 32 and tomorrow I’m eating brunch and dinner with great folks, trying a new workout class and continuing the celebration into Easter with church, another great workout, and Sam’s Place at Ryman. Then back to the real world…

32 is going to be what I make it. I just want to choose happy and I want to thrive. I want to push fear off a cliff. I want to trust myself more. Ask for what I want and ask again if I don’t get it. I want to keep loving and serving Nashville while loving and serving God. I want to go to concerts and new cities. I want to educate. I want to work out and eat healthy.  I want to grow and I want to make it to 33. I want to make it to 33 with a whole new set of challenges and not the same old mess. I want to change if I need to and hold tight to what makes me the woman I am. I want to believe all of the amazing things others see in me.

All of that can’t possibly be too much to ask, right?

Hope you’ll keep reading as I take on another year of life.

Krystal